1 year, 3 cyclists, 12,000 miles: Bristol speaker to tell stories from bike journey from South America

BRISTOL — Three friends recently returned from a 12,000-mile bike ride from the tip of South America to Vermont, a road trip that took them nearly a year. Although it was an epic journey, their goal was to see just how small the world really is by finding connections with the people they met along the way.
Two of the riders, Cameron Russell and Eli Bennett, will share images and stories of the eleven-month trip they named “Mundo Pequeño — Small World” on Thursday, Jan. 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol. This free event is presented by the One World Library Project and is supported in part by the Vermont Humanities Council. It is open to the public and accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Cameron Russell, who grew up in Middlebury and has been an avid cyclist since childhood, dreamed about a bike trip across the Americas for ten years before it became a reality. His dream began on a solo ride from the coast of Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts, during which Russell experienced the kindness and generosity of strangers who, at times, offered him food and even lodging in their homes. He discovered one of the unique benefits of cycling is the way it enables human connections that reveal common ground across many differences.
Russell was fortunate to find two cyclists interested in sharing his dream. In January 2017, Noah McCarter and Eli Bennett joined Russell, and the trio began their cycling journey in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. They traveled up the rugged west coast of South America through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, made their way through Central America’s wet jungles and the center of Mexico, then on into the United States before finally reaching home in Vermont eleven months later.
With a budget of only $20 per day and bikes packed with camping gear, they experienced exquisite natural beauty and faced extreme physical challenges. Just as Russell had found during his cross-country trip a decade earlier, they were met with acts of kindness and generosity from the people they met along the way. Throughout their trip, they documented stories of these people and witnessed the shared humanity that exists between us all.
The library presentation will include a visual overview of their trip as well as a sampling of stories they documented. Time will be available at the end for questions. An overview of Mundo Pequeño can be found at mundopequeno.org.
For more information on this event or about One World Library Project, contact the Lawrence Memorial Library at 453-2366 or go to OneWorldLibraryProject.org or the One World Library Project Facebook page.  
   Cameron Russell, laft, Eli Bennett and Noah McCarter arrive in Mexico on August 29, 2017.

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